You Don’t Have To Be Live On Facebook’s Live

Facebook stock, Facebook Live

The new feature of the social networking site let the users to post pre recorded content

Although the name suggests otherwise, however, the new video feature of the social networking giant, Facebook Live doesn’t need to be live. The latest tool of the social networking site is allowing the companies to post their “pre-recorded” content.

This feature is based on traditional methods adopted by TV networks for decades which air previously taped programs on a linear schedule.

Facebook has quite actively worked for making its live-video feature a success. Several media companies now think whether the upload of pre-recorded content may garner greater exposure in the news feed of the users in comparison with the traditional uploading of the content through the site’s non-live video posting feature.

A news company, NowThis –who generally use social platforms for its publications –conducted an experiment with the latest option in late April. This included streaming of company’s favorite viral videos through newly introduced Facebook Live. The video was 38 minute long and, according to Facebook’s counters, got over 20,000 views with over 500 comments.

NowThis President, Athan Stephanopoulos has said that since the feature is relatively in its infancy stage therefore the 38 minute video compilation was “a test and an experiment.” He further added, “We decided to take a bunch of viral videos and run them live. Then we were getting involved in the comments.”

A spokesman from the world’s most popular social networking site stipulated that the company doesn’t have any definite policy which abstain the user from uploading pre-recorded content. He further added that the main point of the feature is that the host/uploader of the content can interact with the viewers in real time.

Mr. Stephanopoulos added that the news agency may not instantly stream pre-recorded footage but it will consider making the most of Facebook’s new features of video.

The new feature is enabling several media companies for the promotion of their Web series by airing on Facebook Live at a certain time, in a similar fashion like linear television show. Once they have been streamed they can be used in the same fashion as normal Facebook videos.

Majority of media companies and publishers are increasing their experiments with Facebook novel live-streaming platform. The platform has brought a considerable amount of viewership.

A self-professed ‘millennial’ news site Mic has said that they will roll tape of the parts of the interview with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Mic’s chief strategy officer, Cory Haik, has expressed that the Live feature of Facebook enables the commenters to be more engaged with a real-time event.

The feature is currently in its initial phase and the time will tell how popular it will be and what future benefits it will hold for the social networking giant.

At the market which closed on Monday, Facebook Inc. stock stood at a price of $119.24.

Cupertino Mayor Miffed At Apple

Tesla stock, tax system, Cupertino Mayor

The mayor beliefs that the tech giant is not sharing the profits with the region justly

Barry Chang, the mayor of Cupertino is disgruntled with Silicon Valley tech giant, Apple Inc. In an interview with The Guardian, Chang stormed at the world’s most valuable company and accused it of tax evasion and concealing its money in the accounts maintained overseas. He said that such practices of the tech titan are weakening Cupertino. He taunted the company saying, “Apple is not willing to pay a dime.”

Chang argued that since the company is making exorbitant profits then they should “share our responsibility for our city, but they won’t.” Currently, while being in compliance with the tax system, Apple Inc. pays at a tax rate of about 2.3%, at this rate, from 2012 to 2013, the tech behemoth has paid mere $9.2 million while generating close to $181 million offshore. Mr. Chang cited that the company ought to pay far more and that he tried compelling the tech giant to pay around $100 million to Cupertino for the purpose of infrastructure projects. However, the city council voted against the motion.

Chang added that he is determined and it is less likely that he’d back out. On the other hand, the Cupertino, Calif. firm has stated that it has been paying the Cupertino tens of millions of dollars in the form of property taxes and additional sales; also, while part of the tax charged to the company relates to the construction of the new campus. The campus is likely to generate billions for the local businesses.

In the past as well, Apple Chief Executive, Tim Cook has assured that the company has always maintained law compliance. Currently, the tax system followed in U.S. allows the organizations for such practices –also referred as “double Irish.” Through the initiative, the companies may set up their headquarters at low-tax regions like Ireland and subsequently disperse the profits to subsidiaries in regions like Bermuda or Cayman Islands. According to Citizens for Tax Justice –a non-profit research group, if the tech titan’s financials are adjusted on the basis of the money held by the company overseas then the iPhone maker would, in taxes, owe close to $59.2 billion.

Last December, on similar matter, Mr. Cook expressed that the criticism against Apple has political roots. He cited that the country should work on framing policies which could allow companies to bring in the profits they earned overseas conveniently to their dwelling countries without the payment of exorbitant –30% to 40% –corporate tax rate.

Apple’s stock, at the market which traded on Thursday, closed at a price of $93.24 by falling 0.38%.The 52 week range of the stock is $92 to $133.

Tesla’s First Quarter Earning Report

Tesla stock, earnings, Model 3, cash burn

The automaker posted losses but is determined to ramp up its production plans

On Wednesday, Tesla Motors Inc. announced that it is looking forward to accelerate its annual production and achieve the goal of half-a-million vehicles around two years earlier. But, the luxury electric car maker has to achieve this target without the guidance of two top manufacturing executives.

The Palo Alto, Calif. firm disclosed its quarter’s earnings on Wednesday and, in comparison with the year-ago same period, the automaker’s loss has doubled although the company did manage to bolster its sales of luxurious sedan and sport-utility vehicle. In order to avoid negative cash flow in the current year, 2016, the automaker surrendered a plan so that it can pour in some money to ramp up the production of the affordable “Model 3” which –at a price of $35,000 –will help the auto-tech giant to sell 500,000 by 2018.

The company is planning to roll out the highly anticipated car sometime in the second half of the next year. As of now, the company has set a goal of producing a total of 100,000 to 200,000 by the year end.

The Californian automobile behemoth has faced a lot of hurdles and difficulties in manufacturing its current products on time and glitches free. The company’s clean image was tarnished when, over the course of last six months, the problems with the Model X SUV doors and seat latches come on the surface. The initial price of Model X starts from $81,000.

Tesla Motors made it public on Wednesday that two of its executives –Manufacturing Vice President Josh Ensign and Production Vice President Greg Reichow will no longer be part of the company in the future. Mr. Reichow has been with the company since 2011 and had previously been in charge of powertrain engineering. He will remain in the company until his position is not filled while Mr. Ensign who had lead manufacturing has already departed from the company.

The departures, however, are not out of ordinary. Since its inception, back in 2003, Tesla Motors has lost number of its executives as the arch-rivals recruited automaker’s employees. Some recent departures from the company include, Vice President of Worldwide Finance and its assistant vice president of regulatory affairs, Michael Zanoni and Jim Chen.

On a conference call with the investors, Tesla’s Chief Executive, Elon Musk said, “Tesla is going to be hell-bent on becoming the best manufacturer on earth. Thus far, I think we’ve done a good job on design and technology on our products. The key thing we need to do in the future is to also be a leader in manufacturing. It’s a thing we need to obviously solve if we are going to scale and scale rapidly.”

The analysts from Wall Street have been closely monitoring the cash burn of the company and several analysts have opined that the company had to sell some additional shares in order to pile up some cash for adequate production.

The current production goals have been coined on the basis of the humungous 400,000 reservations which came in after the company debuted its Model 3. For the quarter, the reservations called for $1,000 in form of refundable deposits and garnered hundreds of millions of dollar in new funds. According to the officials, the money poured through reservations strengthened the confidence of the company.

The company has reported a loss of $283 million –or EPS of $2.13 –on the revenue of $1.15 billion. After the announcement of earnings, at the after-hours trading, the share of the company jumped up 3.1% and rested at $229.50.

 

Credit Suisse Reiterates $150 Price Target on Apple

iPhone sales, price target, Credit Suisse

The analyst is confident that the tech giant has ability to make more sales

Despite reaching at its 52-week low, an analyst at Credit Suisse, Kulbinder Garcha expressed on Tuesday that he is reiterating his price target of $150 on Apple’s shares.

Since last week, after the announcement of the company’s quarterly earnings, its shares have been declining. For the first time ever in thirteen years, the tech giant reported quarterly revenue decline and for the first time ever, the company recorded a decline in the sales of its core product –iPhone –in comparison with the prior year.

But, according to Garcha, a lot of the elements which have been hurting the stock are ephemeral. He is confident that in the upcoming six to 12 months the negative factors can possibly be reversed.

He added that iPhone’s demand is slow due to rate of upgrade. Earlier, the company has impressive rate of upgrade with iPhone cycle while this year, the upgrade was quite modest. Moreover, the Cupertino Calif. firm is expected to release the next generation iPhone, dubbed iPhone 7, sometime later this year.

According to his analysis, the iPhone consumers are likely to change their devices in a span of around 13 months and close to 90 to 95% of them didn’t let go of the brand therefore, in line with this assumption, the stock is likely to revive and the iPhone sales will gain momentum.

He added that since the tech titan’s stock is trading at 9.5 times forward earnings therefore the company’s valuation is duly in line with that of other smartphones manufacturers. He also cited that what distinguishes the company from other competitors is the “strong retention” which the firm has.

Garcha said that in order to shake the firm foundations of the tech behemoth, any rival has to come up with a handset which can easily giver better user experience across TV platforms, computer, and mobile at substantially lower prices.

Credit Suisse put forward their analysis of the probable international growth and cited that, in the next five years, the company has the ability to generate another $90 to $95 billion in China if it can get hold of the Chinese consumers who are willing to spend around $600 a year on Apple products. Additionally, for coherent international growth, the tech titan has to expand in the markets of Brazil, Russia, and India.

According to senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, Gene Munster, the sales cycle and demand for iPad and iPhone differs at great extent. Therefore, the projection that the tech giant hasn’t been able to revive from the declining sales of iPad couldn’t be iterated on iPhones. He said that having been handling the trends of iPhones for almost nine years, the analysts can easily guess how the iPhones sales will turn out.

Google To Be Penalized Under EU antitrust act

Alphabet stock, EU antitrust, market dominance, undue advantage

The internet search engine giant has been under the axe of EU antitrust act

Sources familiar with the matter has disclosed that Alphabet Inc.’s subsidiary Google is likely to be penalized under the European Union antitrust sanction in the current year. The sources further expressed that the settlement of the test case with the bloc’s regulator is highly unlikely.

There are several incentives which either party can opt for reaching a deal in a six-year dispute. This could help establish a precedent for the Internet search giant’s searches for flights, hotels, and other services in addition to testing the ability of the regulators to safeguard Web diversity.

This was the second time that Google had been hit by EU antitrust charge. The company has been alleged for taking undue advantage of its strong dominance in the market and deliberately squeezing out the rivals. After years of arguing and fighting, the company shows little signs of backing down. Since 2010, the company had had three failed compromise attempts therefore, by the looks of it, the Internet search giant is not looking forward to settle the allegations put on it which blame the company for using its Web search results to accentuate its own shopping service unless the Commission takes its stance back.

Such turn of events is highly unlikely as Margrethe Vestager –European Competition Commissioner –shows no interest in going for a settlement when there is no discovery of any sort of wrongdoing or a fine against Google, sources privy to the matter cited.

The stakes are high for the Alphabet’s subsidiary which has constantly denied of any sort of breach. According to some of the rivals, any fine basically highlights the cost of doing the business and through its existing business model it has a lot to gain in profit.

The European Commission didn’t comment.

Thomas Vinje, a lawyer who has advised few of Google’s competitors has cited: “From a pure profitability perspective, it is better off dragging out the competition case, continuing its practices for as long as possible, and ultimately paying a fine that will be smaller than the profits it generates by continuing the conduct.”

On the contrary, according to several sources, the last week’s pact with the rival Microsoft indicates that since companies are trying to surrender all complaints against each other therefore Google is likely to go for a deal with the European Commission.

However, one of the sources cited that it is too early for the Alphabet’s subsidiary to come up with any decision regarding the EU case. Up till now, Google’s track record regarding the global cases has been mixed –winning some legal battles while losing the others.

In the near future, more details of the case will be unfolded. Alphabets Inc.’s shares have been flat meaning that the news didn’t affect them negatively whatsoever. At the market which closed on Friday, Alphabet Inc.’s stock stood at a price of $707.88. The 52 week range of the stock is $532 to $810.

Twitter Opts For Ad Video For Revenue Increase

Twitter stock, video ad, promoted tweets

The social networking firm has posted disappointing results and now look for other revenue streams to upgrade its performance

 

Last week, Twitter disappointed a lot of its investors when it posted far below than expected results. The company missed its first quarter estimates and reasoned the underperformance to the big advertising brands for not promptly increasing their spending.

For the current quarter, therefore, Twitter’s revenue is expected to shrink around 17% –just eighteen months ago, the company was able to double its revenue. The investors have been quite unhappy about the company’s performance. The ad revenue has been the only beacon of light for the company amidst a large number of issues which the company has been encountering. For a long time now, the social networking firm has been in the vortex of stagnant user growth, unorganized product strategy, and management turnover.

The reason due to which big brand advertisers are not highly interested in the company is that the company’s ad promotions have got a traditional touch. The company’s signature ad product is basically a “promoted tweet” which is similar to the regular but carries promotional images, links, and text. According to Interpublic Group’s executive director of a social media agency, James Douglas, the ad product on which Twitter has been working is not what the brand advertisers are on the lookout for more catchy style of advertising which might include interactive ads or videos.

According to eMarketer, Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube has garnered the largest share of U.S. video ad dollars at 20%, on the video front. However, the social networking giant, Facebook Inc., who has just started video ads in 2013 has gained momentum quiet rapidly. When the company posted its earnings, it showed a revenue jump of more than 50%, such boastful increase has been attributed to the advertisers’ videos.

Therefore, the San Francisco, Calif. firm is looking forward to enter into the revenue stream of ad videos. Meanwhile, around the fall, it is expected to start the live-streaming of the first of 10 National Football League games.

The terms of the deal between NFL purports that the company will have approximately 15 slots which it can use to sell commercials during each game. On Tuesday, the $10 billion company expressed that it has already closed an agreement with one of the major marketers to advertise    during live-stream. However, many major marketers are not endorsing Twitter’s statement and they have been reported to have cited that they are searching for other company to expend their dollars on.

eMarketer has reported that in the U.S. during the current year the digital video ad spending is likely to increase by 28.5% and reach at $9.84 billion. Twitter stands amidst strong rivals who are gunning to attract those dollars to them. According to Shelby Saville, president of innovation and investment platforms at Mediavest Spark –an ad buying firm –the Californian firm is “not yet at the forefront of the video content conversation and that is where the dollars are.” She underlined that the platforms like Snapchat, YouTube, and Facebook are the one on which the companies are planning to upload their video ads. Additionally, Twitter doesn’t have large number of users who could engage with the ad.

Last year, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC purchased San Francisco, Calif. firms promoted video ads but the users didn’t “engage” –meaning they didn’t share, view, or comment on the video –well enough to cover the marketing cost. However, Coldwell’s chief marketing officer, Sean Blakenship cited that the response had been much favorable on Facebook.

However, there are several brand advertisers who have been happy with their decision of using Twitter for promoting their products. Companies like Bank of America and Heineken NY have been quite successful while using Twitter’s promoted tweets.

The time will tell whether the company has been able to attract the brand advertisers or not. If it couldn’t then it is highly likely to see more fall in the revenue which will ultimately hit hard on the stock. As of now, at the market which closed on Friday, Twitter Inc. stock stood at a price of $14.61.

Amazon Beat Analyst Expectations

Amazon stock, Amazon Prime, AWS

The e commerce company marked fourth straight quarter of profits and sent its shares soaring

On Thursday, Amazon.com, Inc. posted its quarterly earnings and impressed the analysts and investors with its boastful earnings. The result sent the shares soaring during the after-hour trading. The company also demonstrated the bolstering market power of its core business of retail and newly operating cloud services division.

In January, when the world’s biggest online retailer posted its disappointing results it sent both the analysts and the investors into the vortex of skepticism and uncertainty. All the concerned people worried about the company’s thin profit margins. But, after the announcement of the impressive results, the e-commerce firm’s share sprang 13% and reached at $679 during after-hours trading.

Since last week, the tech and internet companies have been posting disappointing results and after Facebook, Amazon.com, Inc. revived the market with their strong reports. Additionally, the company has provided bolstering outlook for the current quarter and is expecting to generate revenue of $28 billion to $30.5 billion while the analysts had expected the company to have revenue of $28.33 billion in the current quarter.

Company’s cloud computing segment, Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the biggest highlight of the evening. The division revenues had incredible jump of 64% and rested at $2.56 billion while the operating income tripled to $604 million.

AWS was launched by the company almost a decade ago and since it has been delivering more profits to the company than its’ core retail business. According to several research firms, the division has over 30% of the fast-growing cloud-computing market and it is a long way ahead of its rivals including Google and Microsoft.

The company cited that the subscribers for its Prime loyalty program has been growing strongly which presents original TV programming, gives access to its digital entertainment products like Prime Video and Prime Music, and offers one-hour delivery. The loyal program is offered at $99 annually.

The $279 billion organization expressed that it looks forward to boost spending to attract the customers of Prime through video content. This strategically has been built on the premise of the success of the Golden Globe winning awards programs –Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle.

Relating to the matter, the Chief Executive Officer, Brian Olsavsky said the following during the conference call with the investors, “We feel that program is working. We’re going to significantly increase our spend in that area.”

In line with the proposed plan, the company has recently launched $10.99 monthly subscription to the program. It has also expressed that it plans to come up with a standalone video streaming against the monthly fee of $8.99.

Although the company has not provided segregated number of the subscribers of Prime but according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, the program has close to 54 million members in the U.S. A senior analyst at Forrester Research, Frank Gillett opined that the revenue side of the company is endorsing that the Amazon Prime relationship model is working.

On Thursday, the company expressed that it will carry on its logistic operations. Amazon uses its own planes and trucks to enhance the carriers –such as FedEx and UPS –services and offer same day service.

For the first quarter, the company reported net income of $513 million –or an EPS of $1.07. This marks the fourth consecutive profit generating quarter for the company who earlier been facing cash flow problems. According to Thomson Reuters, earlier, the investors expected an EPS of $0.58 on revenue of $27.98 billion.